Praise for Kingdom Come Radio Show, Barrow Street Press, 2016
We know much of what happens when we break atoms apart. Yet how much of that human history can the human voice carry? Even the flesh is an agglomerate of unstable atoms, leaking secrets. This book and its sound pieces show us how the poem, itself rattled by atomic shifts, can carry our shadows. What’s left, our earthly remnants, is bathed in the light of song, like a deer leaping through in its precise talent, bones made radiant.
– Eleni Sikélianòs
Kingdom Come Radio Show is a documentary poetics that reads like a gorgeous, shattering symphony. Here the movements of history and the natural world comingle with the strains of personal memoir to create a work of profound music and sensibility. From the terrible imagination of Oppenheimer to the ephemera of mouse tracks, deer antlers and the “violinings of crickets,” Joni Wallace has assembled an astonishing elegy for our beautiful, doomed earth.
– Karen Brennan
Skeleton grottoes, body sorrows, Hank Williams’ cries, a nightjar singsongs: how tangible the loneliness-es in these poems. In such poems, animals keep their distance. The fenced-off ghosts of atomic bomb tests are the inscrutable blank spaces on Western maps, whose moans haunt the redacted lines of history. Terror and wonder are fleetingly captured in the yellowed documents, hand-held films, radio plays, and chance photographs that make up the post-nuclear world of Joni Wallace’s book, which also portends the future— planes become drones, guard towers become cell towers, and the mushroom cloud becomes only the cloud. Wallace is a risk-taking poet who invents new words for old realities, and recovers old words for new realities. We see the terrain in startling light.
– Richard Greenfield